Thursday, June 9, 2016

Axis and Allies Board Game

Way back in high school, I got my introduction to my first true "geek" board game in the form of  the classic Milton Bradley Gamemaster Axis and Allies. In this game, each player takes on the role of one of the five major powers of World War 2 (combining them but still playing them separately with less than five players). My youth pastor taught me and several other youth on a high school trip, and over the next few years I got the chance to play with them several more times during late night gatherings. And even after graduation, I convinced my brother to play with me several more times, and I'd like to think that his love of board games today also traces back to some of our games together.

By modern standards, it might be considered somewhat cumbersome, with different rules for each of the eight different units. Combat is resolved by rolling six-sided die, with lower numbers giving you hits and higher numbers giving you misses (although, again, which was which varied by the type of unit). In keeping with its historical timeline, the Axis powers start with a vastly superior military, but the Allies have a major economic advantage, making their victory more and more likely the longer the game drags on. Victory could be achieved either by capturing all of the enemy capitals or simply by capturing enough territories and earning a high enough victory point total.

The other major downside of the game was how long it took to play. Even when the game was called when victory looked inevitable for one side or the other, it still would take three or four hours to get through a game, and much longer than that if you had to teach someone the rules before you could play. This problem was probably exacerbated by how cheap and defensive the infantry units were, allowing you to create large "stacks of doom" where you might have to roll twenty or more dice to resolve a single round of combat.

I still have a copy of the game in my garage, and given the right opportunity, I would still enjoy dusting it off, facing off against a skilled opponent, and teaming up with others to fight our way to victory.

Have any of you ever played this game or any of its spinoffs? What do you think of it? As always, your comments are appreciated.

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